My Bucket List


I have not given this a lot of thought, but there are a number of things I would like to do before I die.  And if you read my last post, you already know that I think my day of reckoning is still a long way off.

1.  I would like to fly a bi-plane to each of the continental 48 states.  Ideally it would be a 1938 Stearman army trainer.

2. I would like to ride a bobsled down an olympic run.

3.  I want to fly in a hot air balloon.

4.  I want to pilot a glider.

5. I would like to bicycle across America.

6.  I would love to snorkel the Great Barrier Reef.

7.  I would like to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro.

8.  I would love to safari in one of the African wildlife preserves.

9.  I want to visit St. Petersburg Russia.

10.  I would like to ride an elephant.

11. I would love to boat up the Yangtze River in China.

12.  I want to walk a portion of the Great Wall of China.

13.  I would like to climb Mt. Fuji Japan.

14.  I want to go skiing in New Zealand’s mountains.

15.  I’d like to get a ride in an Air Force jet going at least Mach 2.

16.  I would love to attend the International Chopin Piano Competition held in Warsaw Poland.

17.  I want to raft the Colorado River in the Grand Canyon.

18.  I want to pan for gold in Alaska.

19.  I want to drive a railroad steam engine.

20.  I want to drive a race car at speeds approaching 200 mph.

21.  I want to see an excellent display of the aurora borealis from either northern Alaska, Northern Norway, or North Sweden.

22. I would like to mush a dog sled  in Alaska.

23.  I would like to do Mardi Gras in New Orleans.

24.  I would love to have dinner with Charlize Theron.

25.   Finally, I would like to have dinner with God, or Jesus, and if they can not spare the time, dinner with my dad would be perfect.

So there’s my bucket list.  And while I admit that number 25 seems rather unlikely, it could happen.  You never know.  I will welcome suggestions of other things I might consider doing.

 

Living to be 120


I said to someone today, “You know how I know every day is going to be a good day?”  She said, “No. How?”  I said, “I wake up.  From that point on it has to be good because I am s till alive.”

About 12 years ago I made a decision to live to be 100.  I was quite serious and when people asked me how I planned on doing that I said, “One day at a time.”  I was and am quite serious about that.  I no longer worry what is going to happen next year, next month, or even next week.  I concern myself with today and what I can do today to help myself stay in a healthy state, mind, spirit, and body.  It is not always easy and I sometimes forget.  But when I do remember, I do not allow myself any excuses for not doing the next right thing.  Like today, it is cold, damp and gloomy outside and I really would rather not go out there to do my daily exercise.  But as I sit here, I am already partially geared up, clothing-wise, for a 22 mile bicycle ride.  As soon as I finish this I will put on the rest of my gear and head on out.  I know that when I am finished and back here, I will be feeling really good about it all and wondering to myself why I get in my own way.

I had an aunt who died about a year and a half ago.  She was 100 and she was my father’s sister.  My father lived to be 57, dying from a 3rd heart attack.  I had a heart attack over 13 years ago.  But contrary to what my father experienced, I have no heart damage, the clogged artery has a stent keeping it wide open, and I have an exercise regimen that has helped keep my blood pressure down, my pulse a slightly above that of a distance runner, and my cholesterol in check.  My plan is to continue that until I can no longer physically do it.  My 100-year-old aunt died from Alzheimer’s disease but she was still fully mobile at her death and moved without help of any sort or physical impediment.  I have no excuse for not following in her footsteps.  I think that were it not for Alzheimer’s she would still be alive today.

That is the reason I have quite recently changed my target date from 100 years to 120 years of life.  There was no real reason not to, particularly considering that more and more people are reaching the century mark all the time.  There is one exception to all that for me.  That is, I will need to still have all my wits about me and be fully mobile at 100 to continue on.  I cannot stand the thought of being stuck in a house, or worse, a room.

Well, that is it.  That is my plan, pure and simple.  I am feeling great today and have no reason to believe that this cannot continue for a very long time to come.  If my plan succeeds, I will live to see 2069.

Great Things Are Ahead !!


Okay, change of gears, from my doom and gloom last post to this.  Thanks to the US Army I was thrust into cutting edge technology when I was just 19.  I had to learn all about microwave technology and a brand new type of communications, satellite.  The first four years of my army career was spent learning such things.  At my stop in Italy, I also had to learn about tropospheric scatter communications, digital communications, and my first computer. That was in 1970.  Yes, I am that old.

In 1981 I saw my first minicomputer, a DEC PDP-1.  Information to boot it had to be toggled in using a bunch of switches on the front of the computer.  But that was a big improvement from the torn tape (paper tape) boot we had to use on my first computer.

Shortly after that I went to work for MIT Lincoln Labs and did satellite tracking.  We had a huge Sperry analog computer and the DEC PDP-11, the latest thing in 1981.  Come 1985, I was working at MIT’s campus and had been assigned the position of PC hardware engineer.  I was a department of 1, me, who had to be the guru of the IBM PC-XT.  That computer was one step removed from their introductory PC and the first PC of any make for public sale.  Remember, even though Apple developed the first home computer, they always have claimed they are not a PC.  That was fine by me.  Apple had this aversion to allowing computer developers to get at the inner workings of their computer.  That meant writing our own software for it was somewhere between very difficult and impossible.  From a laboratory perspective, I was developing for MIT’s numerous engineer laboratories, we had to be able to write very specialized data gathering programs.

After I left MIT, 1987, I went to work for the US Department of Transportation.  They dearly wanted me because I was something of an expert, for them anyway, in an operating system that few understood back then, UNIX.  It was the platform of choice at MIT.  A year after I got there I suggested we install the Internet and almost without exception, people said, “What’s that?”  The Internet back then was something developed by the Army and was called the DARPA-NET (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency Network).  The Department of Defense asked several universities, Carnegie-Mellon, Michigan, and MIT to help advance the network as it was starting to grow in the mid-1980s.

About 1991 I had a boss who insisted I get certified in the predecessor to HTML, SGML (Standardized General Markup Language).  This was a format used to print documents in the late 1980s and 1990s.  Wang computers and a company called Interleaf had computers dedicated to word processing.  But in 1988 I had been introduced to the original Microsoft Word, and then in 1991 to WordPerfect.  I told my boss that the need for dedicated word processors was no long valid.  He reminded me that he had a PhD, this is true, and that I did not.  I refused to learn it, saying it was worthless, and he shipped me off to another division.  Thank you Dr. Bob.  You were a horse’s ass but you helped me greatly.

In 1988 I headed up a US Air Force project to computerize the load planning of their C-141 and C-5A fleet.  I used a platform called an “expert system.”  This software incorporated the early ideas of artificial intelligence into mainstream computing.  It was unpopular because of how specialized and how difficult it was supposed to be.  I did not agree, but what did I know?

By 1993 we were using the first GPS satellites to track an Air Force Aircraft.  Our test used the Air Force’s Chief of Staff’s B-737.  It was a total success.

AFter that I worked on an FAA project to digitize their pilot certification center in a matter that a photograph could be quickly retrieved from mass storage.  In 1998, 10 second retrieval time was fast.  Now people would be looking to see what was slowing things up.

Lastly, I worked on a thing called wake vortex turbulence in parallel runways.  When an aircraft lands it leaves a wake, same as you can see behind a boat.  This wake can drift onto a parallel runway and cause problems for other aircraft that are landing or taking off.  I had to mesh together millions of bits of data, create a graphical representation of the wake, and statistically analyse it.  I did get credit for publishing a scholarly technical paper to the AIAA (American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics).  If you need something to put you to sleep, I will happily forward you a copy.

The thing is, I have gone from the Intel 8086 processor of the IBM PC-XT to my triple core Pentium today.  The thing is, we are ramping up our technology at a pace that is unheard of.  Apple’s Tablet and Amazon’s Kindle Fire are examples of things still on the R&D tables just five years ago, and these are fairly rudimentary.  The things you can do on those platforms is truly revolutionary, but, not particularly practical.  That was the first PC’s problem too.  That $3000 IBM PC-XT could not do too much but boy was it fun to brag about having one.  But unlike the late 1980s, we have plenty of companies who will rush to add apps to those devices to suit everyone’s needs.  I am already looking for a “day planner” app that is not available yet for my Kindle Fire.  The device will be a wonderful data collection device once apps of that sort are written for it.  Then it will have to be faster and support more graphics and multiple programs running at the same time.  That will happen, probably within the next year.

Along with the computer advances, is the advances in telephonics.  Smart phones have become a must have item.  Ten years ago, just having a cell phone was a big deal.  I got my first cell in 1996 from the then Cell One.  I fully expect the cellular industry to wipe out the desk-top phone in the home.  In time, businesses will also drop them.  It only makes sense to have a mobile phones for dedicated lines.  A smart way of doing business.

In the next year or two the swipe style of credit card usage will start to disappear as they are replaced by smart chip credit cards.  Those are card that only require you to tap it on a pad and it automatically picks up your personal data.  It will also greatly increase card security as the level of difficulty of creating bogus cards becomes extreme.

Pretty soon we will all have identity cards that will allow us to transfer basic information about us, address, phone number, etc. to establishments like hotels and other places requiring such info.  Again, a smart chip will make this possible.

Many colleges are going to offer “distance education.”  Course will be entirely taught over the internet.  I have taken one such course.  It was particular good because the video of each class was always there to review.  It was like having instant notes on the entire class.

The growth industry of 2012 to 2020 is going to be wind farming.  People who invest in such properties will be making money hand over fist.  Along with solar cells, and hydro-electric, they are the epitome of green power production.  Solar cells still have a way to go but wind turbines are here now, and working well.  They will become a regular portion of our horizon.  It won’t be long before people wonder why anyone would have objected to such an idea.

America is going to be the world leader for the foreseeable future in the export of food.  Corn, wheat, oats, barley, and other grains, along with other vegetables.  The world is starving and we have both the land and the resources to export ever-growing supplies of food to a hungry world.

If you want to know where we are in computing, make the year 1914 and Henry Ford puts his assembly line into full swing.  The auto industry was going through rapid growing pains but it grew.  That is about where we are in computing.  We are in the late Ford Model-T era.

The Coming Financial Crisis


I fear the coming year is going to be a particularly bad one for all of us.  I really believe that we are on the brink of an economic disaster because of forces in the world of finance that remain unchecked.  What scares me is that those who run the financial world are allowed to act with impunity.  They do not have to worry about bad acts of faith, to worry about even possible illegal acts, because they know no one is going to go after them.  Consider this, to be a person who makes financial transactions on Wall Street you have to pass a series of grueling tests, be certified, be bonded, be investigated, and be bound to a long list of ethics.  To be in a managerial position of such people there is no requirement for any other this as long as you do not participate in actual financial transactions.  A corporate CEO could actually be a convicted felon.

In 2008 we experienced a downturn like none we had experience since 1929.  We are gong to experience basically the same thing again for many of the same reasons.  In 1929 many companies were way over-valued and not well-financed.  People bought stock “on margin,” which you cannot do today, which mean they paid as little as 10% of the face value of a company’s stock.  We those people were pressed to pay their debt they were unable to pay.  That started a stock sell-off which in turn lowered the trading value of the stock until it was worthless.  A major US company is experiencing a similar problem right now.  AMR stock, the parent company of American Airlines, is selling today for 35 cents.  The New York Stock Exchange has suspended trading of this stock.  Earlier this year the stock was selling at $8.89.  While I do not believe that AMR will be liquidated, I think it is a precursor of what many, maybe thousands, of other stocks could have happen in the upcoming year.

Our first warning of such troubles came in December 2, 2001 when ENRON filed for bankruptcy.  ENRON was guilty of improper accounting procedures among other things.  AMR is not likely guilty of this but its debt load which came about as the result of trying to replace an aging fleet and high fuel prices as well as expensive labor.

When FDR took office in 1933 he put in place many regulations to stabilize the financial community along with creating the FDIC, SEC, and many other oversight organizations.  Starting in 1981, Ronald Reagan and then George W. Bush did everything they could to reverse what FDR had started.  What they were unable to end, they reduced in size so as to render the organization virtually ineffective.  The result was the almost 40% decline in the stock market in 2008.

The $780 billion infusion of cash into the financial industry only forestalled the inevitable without the introduction of much-needed financial oversight, regulation, and enforcement.  There is virtually none of this right now.  It is unchanged since before federal funding was authorized.  That leaves the question, what is to say we won’t go through the same thing we did in 2008 all over again?  Nothing!  And this year we may well see a second financial melt-down.

Of the $780 billion the government fully expects it will never see at least $150 billion.

To be clear, it is not the national debt that will influence such a meltdown.  Actually, in the short-term, it is probably better we neither add to nor reduce that debt.  The debt that is worrisome is private debt.  The first signs of that problem was the mortgage crisis which actually is continuing today.  The answer to the mortgage crisis was not an infusion of government money, but a much more pragmatic approach.  The banks and other lenders needed to find who had means to pay some sort of a mortgage and who did not.  Instead, they took everyone in default and almost universally foreclosed on them, with even the smallest amount of research.  Many of those properties continued to lose value and were unsellable even at auction.  Some banks chose to simple abandon the properties and write them off.  All banks and lending institutions took loses, as we all saw.

The solution to at least half of those loses was a simple restructuring, refinance, and small lending loss.  First the banks needed to go to those mortgagees and offer to forgive all debt above the market value of the house.  Then they needed to reissue the mortgage with terms the mortgagee could afford.  In time, banks and lending institutions could have recovered most of their initial loses through interest.

Even more importantly, the mortgage crisis, as it was, would have been far less and the effect on our economy in general would have been much less far-reaching.  My fear is that in the coming year we will be seeing another major economic downturn.

As long as Americans allow their Congress in Washington to keep the financial community as deregulated and unaccountable as it is now, Americans should expect a very long period of lean times.  We could actually fall into another worldwide depression.

My First Christmas Outside the United States


In my life I have spent 5 Christmases outside the United States.  It was, of course, quite an experience.  Three of those Christmases were spent in Italy where the holiday is of course celebrated as much as it is here.  One Christmas I spent in Kwajalein Atoll in the Marshall Islands.  I was on the island of Roi-Namur on the atoll and it was entirely populated by other Americans.  The Marshallese have their own religion but in their own way they do celebrate a form of Christmas.  But one Christmas was spent in Korea in 1968.

I arrived in Korea in early December 1968.  I was just 19 years old and in the US Army there.  I was just settling in when at a formation one morning volunteers were being sought to go and visit the company’s orphanage.  I later found out that there were more than enough orphanages in Korea to allow every company to have its own.  I would estimate that number to be around 1000.  I volunteered.  I do not remember exactly why, but I am guessing it was more because I had nothing to do than anything noble.

The day came and I would say there were about 10 of us who were going.  Korea in those days was very different from the way it is now.  Even though the hostilities between north and south were not actively acted up, the peace was a very nervous one and small conflicts still happened.  Because of that we were told we had to check out our M-16 rifles from the armorer and take them with us.  There was, we were told, always the possibility of being ambushed.  To that end at jeep with a 50 calibre machine gun mounted on it led us to the orphanage and a second truck carrying several MPs trailed.  We were told, upon our departure, that the orphanage sat right on the DMZ which is why such heightened security was necessary.  Things got very real very fast because of that.  Still, it did not occur to me that I was in a war zone and had to be told that I had been four years later at another assignment.

The trip to the orphanage was uneventful.  I did not know what to expect when we got there.  The building we arrived at was a small cinderblock building of one story.  My assumption is that is was of western construction since building in the Korean countryside, such as we were in, were seldom of such construction.

The orphanage was run by French nuns who, fortunately for us, spoke English.  Most of us could speak neither English nor French.  My French was passable but I feared testing that.

We had brought with us enough gifts that each child would get one and a lot of food to have a celebration while we were there.  The kids knew of our coming and were excited to see us.  They crowded us as we entered the building.  They spoke nothing but Korean, of course, so we had no idea what they were saying but that did not matter because we could see in their eyes that they were no different from any child we knew back in the U.S.

Shortly after we had gotten everything inside we congregated in a room to meet with the children.  I looked around the room and I quickly caught sight of one little girl who quickly grabbed my heart and has left me heartbroken.  Unlike all the other children, she had blonde hair and blue eyes but with other Korean features.

At the time in Korea, the Koreans were culturally quite conservative.  Women were not allowed to date without their family’s permission and sex before marriage was absolutely prohibited.  Any women who engaged in extra-marital sex was immediately branded a whore and shunned by all society.  At that time orphans were almost always were the children of unmarried mothers.  Korean women would almost always send such a child to an orphanage rather than have the extra weight of societal condemnation.  Such children had a tough time as they grew up.  They were not readily accepted into society.  Still, a few smart moves on their part and they could sidestep such issues and gain a fair level of acceptance.

But a girl with blonde hair and blue eyes had very little chance at that time.  For her, it was an absolute case of wearing a “Scarlet A” on herself.  In talking to one of the nuns I found that her very survival was at risk once she left the orphanage.  I inquired about getting her sent to the U.S. and adoption but of course my being single, and without means, made that impossible.

The image of that little girl was burned into my memory.  The helplessness and hopelessness of it changed my perspective on the world forever.  When I returned to the U.S., December 20 1969, I brought with me the recognition of how little we Americans understand and appreciate other cultures, particularly non-western cultures.

From 1970 to 1973 I was stationed in Italy and the opportunity to visit an orphanage there was afforded me one Christmas.  I jumped at that opportunity and I still have vivid memories of that visit as well.  But those memories are mostly happy and the children of that orphanage had an equal chance when they grew up.

It is hard to understand how much we have, even those here who struggle in poverty, until you visit a country such as Korea and experience abject hopelessness.  Each Christmas I appreciate how much I have and that is why I want for nothing.

Surviving Christmas & SAD


Christmas is one of those times when people seem to love it or hate it.  I was reflecting on this and wondering why that is.  I have decided it could be because our minds take us back to our childhood when things were much more simple.  In my own case Christmas was a day I looked towards anxiously.  My childhood Christmases were almost always fabulous.  The lone exception to that was the Christmas I had the mumps.  If you have never had it, mumps causes severe soreness of the jaw.  Well, would you know it, someone that Christmas gave me some taffy and being a sugar addict, I ate it anyway and endured a large amount of pain of course.

But I think most of us fondly remember our childhood Christmases and we miss those feelings having become adults.  We get bogged down in the shopping madness, the anxiousness over getting exactly the right present for each person, and the craziness of family celebrations.  We dread the traffic around the malls, the crowds in the malls and stores, and the anxiety of finding the store that will give us the best value for what we need to buy.

But I think the solution to our shopping frenzy is a simple one.  We need to keep in mind that we are looking for gifts to give those we love and that whatever work we have to do is worth it.  It is part of showing our love for those we hold dear.  Simply put, however difficult it is, it is worth it in the end.

It is good to remember our childhood years but it is impossible to go back of course.  What is possible is for us to regain that childhood delight for the coming day.  The tree will be there, the presents will be there, loved ones will be there, and we will be there.  The only thing that has really changed is our age.  Enjoying Christmas is a choice we make.  If we choose to enjoy it we will regardless of whatever is going on around us.  If we share our good feelings with others, it is my experience that such good feelings are returned many times over.

Now there is the thing called SAD or seasonal affective disorder.  I heard someone say today that they suffer from it.  I think people who do suffer from it have the misconception that they are in the minority.  I believe that everyone suffers from SAD to one degree or another.  But as in most things it is just a matter of how we choose to deal with it that makes the difference.

For years I found the winter months to be depressing.  I have never minded shoveling snow, but I really dislike the cold.  It is very limiting to my being outside.   I have found at least a partial solution to that situation.  I still dislike the winter months but I fully accept that there is nothing I can do about it short of going to a warmer climate.  I have consciously decided that it is up to me to find things that make me feel good during the winter months.  It is my responsibility to stop the whining about how cold it is outside and just go outside and enjoy life.  I no longer allow myself any excuses, and I think because of that, I do not get depressed.

I have lived in Hawaii and on another tropic island.  But my heart belongs to New England and that being true, I have to accept New England weather as it is.  Railing against it is foolishness.  I gains me nothing.  I have had the opportunity to live elsewhere and have passed on those chances.  Acceptance is the answer to all that bothers me.  I have a feeling that if more people embraced acceptance of where they find themselves, and short of moving, the degree to which they expience SAD is greatly lessened.

 

How To Deal With People in Contentious Situations


Dealing with people in contentious situations was a real problem for me for most of my life. There were people who were always reminding me of things I had done wrong in the past. There were people who I felt had wronged me and I held a huge resentment for. There were people who owed me money and were showing no signs of paying it back. There were people who I felt were out to hurt me, who were lying to me, or who were taking advantage of me. And there were people who I felt were getting in the way of my doing what I wanted and other situations. I have discovered that all these problems actually have very easy solutions that, in time, work.

Family, both from birth and marriage, I think has the tendency to be the most difficult to deal with. Where birth family is concerned, these are the people who are quick to remind me of all my shortcomings. My reaction to such things in the past has been to become very defensive and argumentative. There were other times a family member would try to draw me into an argument. In each case I made a basic mistake. First, all I needed to do was to remember my short-comings and own up to them. Secondly, when an argument was being started, I needed to stay out of it. It is really hard to have an argument when I do not respond. I think all families are famous for both such situations and I have certainly been involved with my share of them. I used to have such altercations with both my birth family and my in-laws. Now neither happens. I have taken total ownership of my past shortcomings and when one of them is brought up I simply acknowledge that I was guilty. That has had the effect of short circuiting all possible problems. And I cannot be in a fight I do not join in.

I think the most personally poisonous thing I can do is to hold resentment. I have found that resentments almost always come from two things. First, someone has done something that I find offensive but which I have not addressed with that person. That has made it my problem but I walk around thinking badly of the other person when I have done nothing toward resolution of the perceived problem. The other source is when I feel resentful that someone is being narrow, unreasonable, arrogant, or something else, when in fact, I have the tendency to act the exact same way in those very same situations. I am of equal guilt but I have been unwilling to accept that and have allowed a resentment to form.  It is my obligation to search for the actual source of that resentment and deal with it.  Having a resentment is like me drinking a poison and waiting for the other person to die.  In the end, I am the only one hurt by such foolish feelings.

I have found that when I have wronged someone, at the first instance I realize such a wrong I do what I have to do.  I am obligated to acknowledge that wrong to the person I have offended.  I cannot say their response has always been wonderful, but I can sleep at nights.  Such things take no space in my mind.

It is my experience that most people, including me, abhor confrontation. We get into our heads about the possible confrontation and come to one, if not many, conclusions about such a confrontation, all being very negative. I think the two worst conclusions we come to is we will either hurt the other person’s feelings or lose their friendship. The basic problem with that is we are being dishonest both with ourselves and the other person. But even before that, we have decided that we can figure out how a situation is going to go. That is total foolishness because we are making assumptions about what the other person’s actions and reactions will be. There is no way we can make such predictions. The first thing we need to do is accept that we have an obligation to the other person to honestly speak to them about our concerns. We must accept that feelings can get hurt and friendships ended but that is the risk we must take in conducting ourselves honestly. Anything less is dishonest. A good friend may become angry with us but in time they will get past it and the friendship will continue. Also, we are not responsible for another person’s feelings when there is something we are morally obligated to tell that person.

Throughout my life there are situations when I have felt unjustly attacked by another person.  Then there are other times when I see someone who always seems angry, who seems impossible to please, or who seems to always be at the center of controversy.  Such people, when confronted, may be unwilling or incapable of telling me what is going on with them.  They may even lie about it and say all is well.  It is my experience that if I am to give such people the benefit of the doubt; I need to see them as someone who is fighting one or more of their own personal demons.  I had a friend a few years ago who seemed to be troubled but when I asked her about it she simply said that things were going pretty well.  Then one day someone found her dead in her apartment from a drug overdose.  Other people who knew her asked me what I thought.  I responded each time that I believed she was dealing with her demons but for some reason was not able to ask for help.  I changed my thinking about these troubled people from very negative thoughts to a strong belief that they are fighting their demons.  It helps me keep things in perspective and allows me to be open to helping them when they coming looking.

 

I have found a lot of peace in practicing the principles above, and others, that I have embraced.  I realize that I first need to be the best person I can be.  I need to take ownership of all my shortcomings and actively pursue a resolution to them.  I can honestly report that I have made a lot of progress on that front but I also have a lot more work to do, and I doubt I will ever finish.  My responsibility to other people is to always be honest with them and to be available to them when reasonable.  I have no right to judge any other person’s actions, an extremely difficult task.  If I do not like how someone else acts I can simply not associate myself with them if I find their actions to be that wrong.

 

I think I need to be willing to be hurt and to be disappointed by people.  That means, in my attempts to have good relationships with other people, if I offer myself up to them I have to accept they may well reject my offerings.  It might be personal but I have no right to take it that way.  Offering myself to people is a gift and their rejection of the gift is not a commentary of me as a person.

 

I no longer lend money to anyone.  I do give people money but I always tell them they must not say they will pay me back.  I have found that such promises, when broken, cause hurt and resentment.  If I have no expectation of repayment I cannot be hurt nor feel resentful.  I tell such people that their repayment happens when they give money to someone else in need and I do not want to hear about that either.

 

It is very difficult to offend me these days with words directed at me.  I can respond by either saying “I am” or “Why do you think that?” and such a response seems to quash anything more that might come my way.  It leaves people speechless generally.

 

I think that covers many of the more common situations I encounter with people in my daily life.  I still fail in carrying through on all these principles but they are never far from my mind.  I hope that some of this might be useful to anyone who reads this.